Cam beamed at the new applicant. “I’ll have to get General Landry’s approval,” he told the horse, “but it looks like you’re in. I’m really looking forward to working with you. I remember my little old grandmother telling me all about being a big fan of Champion the Wonder Horse way back…” His smile faded away and his brow creased. “…when Mom was a kid. Huh? That’s… odd. Horses don’t live that long.”
“That is correct, my Coronel,” El Nombre agreed. “Perhaps El Campeón was frozen in a glacier for many years and then, because of the Global Warming, he thawed out.”
“Like Captain America, you mean?” Cam shook his head. “Nope, cryogenic freezing doesn’t really work like that.” He fixed his gaze on the stallion. “Unless you’re claiming different?”
“Nay,” the horse replied.
“So, what’s the story, then, Champion?” Cam asked. “That is, assuming you really are Champion, which I have to say I’m starting to doubt.” His hand began to drift towards his holstered zat.
“Nay!” the stallion snapped, this time in a tone of command, and his right fore-hoof shot out in a kick to Cam’s chest. The SGC officer reeled back, hit his desk, and went over it and landed on his back on the floor. His half-drawn zat’nik’tel went flying and a tray of refreshments, ready for the conclusion of the interview, spilled on the floor.
El Nombre uncoiled his bullwhip and cracked the lash loudly. “Surrender, señor caballo,” he ordered, “for I am a skilled caballero.”
“Nay,” the horse said again. He reared up. Two ‘thuds’ sounded from behind him, accompanied by a distinct ‘ouch!’
“I don’t know what you’re yelping for, Doc,” a female voice grumbled. “You landed on me.”
“Yeah, but you’re super strong and I’m just normal strong,” a male voice replied.
“¡Ay, caramba!” El Nombre exclaimed. “What is this? Invisible intruders!”
“Ugggh,” Cam moaned. He managed to sit up, pulled open one of the desk drawers, and extracted a TER. “Who the hell are these guys?”
As if in answer to his question two mustachioed men in chaps and Stetson hats popped into existence from out of nowhere. Cam blinked and stared at the TER which, as far as he knew, he hadn’t yet activated. The cowboys began to sing.
“You’ve seen through his imposture
His cover has been blown,
You know that he’s not Champion
Just his evil clone.
Alas his pair of riders
Have let themselves be thrown.
They’ll have to run, and flee this place
Escape this Cheyenne Mountain base…
El Nombre cracked his whip and it passed through the cowboys without effect. “A hologram,” he deduced.
“No shit,” Cam agreed. He managed to activate the TER. The singing cowboy hologram was disrupted, shimmered briefly, and then disappeared. Simultaneously two new figures appeared behind Bad Horse.
One was a young woman in a crumpled wedding dress. The other was a young man, tall but slight of build, who wore a red lab-coat and black gauntlets. A pair of goggles obscured his face but Cam still recognized him on sight; Dr. Horrible, dubbed ‘the most evil villain ever’ by the media following his murder of the innocent girl-friend of a superhero, and reputed to be the strong right hand of Bad Horse in the Evil League of Evil.
“Oh, crap,” Cam moaned. He began to crawl out from behind the desk in search of a weapon.
Bad Horse uttered a whinny, incomprehensible to the SG-1 members but carrying an unmistakable note of command, and then whirled and fled from the interview room.
“Wait, señor El Mal de Caballos!” El Nombre called. “You have not signed the non-disclosure agreement!”
The woman in the bridal gown sniggered. “That’s the least of your worries, gopher,” she said. She caught hold of El Nombre’s whip, tugged it from his hands, and threw it aside. “We’re going to kill you.”
“I am not a gopher, señorita, I am a gerbil,” El Nombre protested, “and I will not be easy to kill. I have the Black Belt in Sudoku.” He dropped into a martial arts stance and raised his fists.
Dr. Horrible’s goggles wobbled as he frowned. “Isn’t that number puzzles?”
“Who cares?” the girl snapped. “Just blast them.”
“This is a stunner,” Dr. Horrible pointed out, indicating the weapon strapped to his arm. “Anyway, we can’t kill them. They’re Earth’s first line of defense against the Goa’uld.”
El Nombre leapt to the attack. He aimed a flying kick at Dr. Horrible but the girl swatted him out of the air before he could reach his target. El Nombre crashed to the ground and landed beside the spilled refreshment tray. The food had been provided by the British team, SG-22, and consisted of baked confections with clotted cream and strawberry jam.
“Aha!” said El Nombre. “My preferred weapon is the custard pie but these shall do.” He snatched up a cake and hurled it at the woman. It struck her between the eyes and covered her face in cream.
“Now you’ve done it,” said Dr. Horrible. “Hell hath no fury like a woman sconed.”
“Why’d you give away my name?” the girl complained, wiping away the cream and then licking her fingers. “Now we have to kill them.”
“Yeah, right, like you wouldn’t be recognized from the description,” Dr. Horrible pointed out. “We were only supposed to steal technology, anyway, not kill anyone. Let’s just run for it until I can get the invisibility screen working again.”
Fury Leika rolled her eyes. “You’re too soft, Doc,” she said, “but I guess you have a point.” The two members of the Evil League of Evil turned and fled in the wake of their leader.
Cam found an alarm button, pressed it, and then called General Landry. “Lock down the base,” he yelled.
“Locking down,” Landry confirmed. “Is it a Foothold situation?”
Cam rubbed his chest where Bad Horse had kicked him. “Not exactly. More of a… hoofhold.”